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Chess Tactics for Champions by Susan Polgar: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Tactics and Combinations the Polgar Way - Book Review



Chess Tactics for Champions: A step-by-step guide to using tactics and combinations the Polgar way




Chess is a game of strategy, logic, creativity, and intuition. But it is also a game of tactics, where you can use clever moves to gain an advantage over your opponent or even deliver a checkmate. In this article, you will learn how to master the art of chess tactics, following the method of one of the greatest chess players and teachers of all time: Susan Polgar.




ChessTacticsforChampionsAstepbystepguidetousingtacticsandcombinationsthePolgarway


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Introduction




What are chess tactics and why are they important?




Chess tactics are moves that take advantage of a specific situation on the board, usually involving a threat or an attack on one or more pieces. They can be used to win material, gain a better position, or force a checkmate. Chess tactics are essential for every chess player, because they can make the difference between winning and losing a game. Without knowing how to use tactics, you will miss opportunities to improve your situation or defend yourself from your opponent's threats.


Who is Susan Polgar and what is her method of teaching chess?




Susan Polgar is a Hungarian-American chess grandmaster, former women's world champion, four-time Olympic gold medalist, and one of the pioneers of women's chess. She is also a renowned chess coach, author, commentator, and promoter of chess education. She has developed a unique system of teaching chess, based on her own experience as a child prodigy who learned chess from her father at the age of four. Her method focuses on building a solid foundation of basic skills, such as pattern recognition, visualization, calculation, logic, and memory. She also emphasizes the importance of practicing with puzzles, exercises, games, and tests that challenge the student's tactical abilities.


How to use this guide effectively




This guide is designed to help you improve your chess tactics by following the Polgar way. It is divided into three sections: basic, intermediate, and advanced chess tactics. Each section covers a different type of tactical motif, such as forks, pins, skewers, discovered attacks, double checks, traps, sacrifices, zwischenzugs, and combinations. For each motif, you will find a definition, some examples, and some tips on how to spot, avoid, create, and exploit it. You will also find some exercises and puzzles that you can solve to test your understanding and practice your skills. You can use this guide as a reference, a workbook, or a self-study course. You can start from the beginning or jump to the section that interests you the most. You can also review the material as often as you need. The more you practice, the more you will improve.


Basic Chess Tactics




Forks




Definition and examples




A fork is a move that attacks two or more enemy pieces at the same time. The piece that makes the fork is usually of lower value than the pieces it attacks, so the opponent cannot capture it without losing something more valuable. For example, a knight can fork a king and a queen, a rook can fork a king and a bishop, or a pawn can fork a rook and a knight. Here are some examples of forks:


In this position, white plays Nf6+, forking the black king and queen.


In this position, black plays Rb1+, forking the white king and bishop.


In this position, white plays c7, forking the black rook and knight.


How to spot and avoid forks




To spot a fork, you need to look for moves that attack more than one piece at the same time. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if you can capture or defend them. To avoid a fork, you need to prevent your opponent from making such moves or move your pieces out of the way. Here are some tips on how to spot and avoid forks:


  • Pay attention to the position of your king and queen. They are the most valuable pieces and the most common targets of forks. Try to keep them safe and not too close to each other.



  • Watch out for knights. They are the most tricky pieces and the most frequent forking pieces. They can jump over other pieces and attack in eight directions. Try to control the squares they can reach and not leave your pieces undefended.



  • Be careful with pawns. They are the least valuable pieces but they can also create forks. They can advance one or two squares and capture diagonally. Try to block their advance and not leave your pieces on their diagonal path.



How to create and exploit forks




To create a fork, you need to look for moves that attack more than one piece at the same time. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if your opponent can capture or defend them. To exploit a fork, you need to take advantage of the situation and capture or threaten the most valuable piece. Here are some tips on how to create and exploit forks:


  • Use your king and queen. They are the most valuable pieces and the most powerful attackers. They can move in any direction and cover a lot of squares. Try to use them to create threats and pressure on your opponent.



  • Use your knights. They are the most tricky pieces and the most frequent forking pieces. They can jump over other pieces and attack in eight directions. Try to use them to surprise your opponent and create unexpected attacks.



  • Use your pawns. They are the least valuable pieces but they can also create forks. They can advance one or two squares and capture diagonally. Try to use them to support your other pieces and create opportunities for forks.



Pins




Definition and examples




A pin is a move that attacks an enemy piece that cannot move without exposing a more valuable piece behind it. The piece that makes the pin is usually of higher value than the piece it attacks, so the opponent cannot capture it without losing something more valuable. For example, a bishop can pin a knight to a queen, a rook can pin a pawn to a king, or a queen can pin a bishop to a rook. Here are some examples of pins:


In this position, white plays Bg5, pinning the black knight to the queen.


In this position, black plays Rf8+, pinning the white pawn to the king.


In this position, white plays Qe6+, pinning the black bishop to the rook.


How to spot and avoid pins




To spot a pin, you need to look for moves that attack an enemy piece that cannot move without exposing a more valuable piece behind it. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if you can capture or defend them. To avoid a pin, you need to prevent your opponent from making such moves or move the pinned piece or the piece behind it out of the way. Here are some tips on how to spot and avoid pins:


  • Pay attention to the position of your king and queen. They are the most valuable pieces and the most common targets of pins. Try to keep them safe and not too aligned with each other.



  • Watch out for bishops and rooks. They are the most powerful pinning pieces. They can move along diagonals and files and ranks. Try to control the squares they can reach and not leave your pieces undefended.



  • Be careful with queens. They are the most versatile pinning pieces. They can move in any direction and cover a lot of squares. Try to block their influence and not leave your pieces unprotected.



How to create and exploit pins




To create a pin, you need to look for moves that attack an enemy piece that cannot move without exposing a more valuable piece behind it. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if your opponent can capture or defend them. To exploit a pin, you need to take advantage of the situation and capture or threaten the pinned piece or the piece behind it. Here are some tips on how to create and exploit pins:


  • Use your king and queen. They are the most valuable pieces and the most powerful attackers. They can move in any direction and cover a lot of squares. Try to use them to create threats and pressure on your opponent.



  • Use your bishops and rooks. They are the most powerful pinning pieces. They can move along diagonals and files and ranks. Try to use them to surprise your opponent and create unexpected attacks.



  • Use your queens. They are the most versatile pinning pieces. They can move in any direction and cover a lot of squares. Try to use them to support your other pieces and create opportunities for pins.



Skewers




Definition and examples




A skewer is a move that attacks an enemy piece that cannot move without exposing a less valuable piece behind it. The piece that makes the skewer is usually of higher value than the piece it attacks, so the opponent cannot capture it without losing something less valuable. For example, a bishop can skewer a queen to a pawn, a rook can skewer a king to a knight, or a queen can skewer a rook to a bishop. Here are some examples of skewers:


In this position, white plays Bb5+, skewering the black queen to the pawn.


In this position, black plays Re1+, skewering the white king to the knight.


In this position, white plays Qd5+, skewering the black rook to the bishop.


How to spot and avoid skewers




To spot a skewer, you need to look for moves that attack an enemy piece that cannot move without exposing a less valuable piece behind it. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if you can capture or defend them. To avoid a skewer, you need to prevent your opponent from making such moves or move the skewered piece or the piece behind it out of the way. Here are some tips on how to spot and avoid skewers:


  • Pay attention to the position of your king and queen. They are the most valuable pieces and the most common targets of skewers. Try to keep them safe and not too aligned with each other.



  • Watch out for bishops and rooks. They are the most powerful skewering pieces. They can move along diagonals and files and ranks. Try to control the squares they can reach and not leave your pieces undefended.



  • Be careful with queens. They are the most versatile skewering pieces. They can move in any direction and cover a lot of squares. Try to block their influence and not leave your pieces unprotected.



How to create and exploit skewers




To create a skewer, you need to look for moves that attack an enemy piece that cannot move without exposing a less valuable piece behind it. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if your opponent can capture or defend them. To exploit a skewer, you need to take advantage of the situation and capture or threaten the skewered piece or the piece behind it. Here are some tips on how to create and exploit skewers:


  • Use your king and queen. They are the most valuable pieces and the most powerful attackers. They can move in any direction and cover a lot of squares. Try to use them to create threats and pressure on your opponent.



  • Use your bishops and rooks. They are the most powerful skewering pieces. They can move along diagonals and files and ranks. Try to use them to surprise your opponent and create unexpected attacks.



  • Use your queens. They are the most versatile skewering pieces. They can move in any direction and cover a lot of squares. Try to use them to support your other pieces and create opportunities for skewers.



Intermediate Chess Tactics




Discovered Attacks




Definition and examples




A discovered attack is a move that reveals an attack by another piece on an enemy piece or square. The piece that makes the move is usually of lower value than the piece it reveals, so the opponent cannot capture it without losing something more valuable or facing a checkmate threat. For example, a pawn can make a discovered attack by moving forward and revealing an attack by a bishop on a queen, a knight can make a discovered attack by moving away and revealing an attack by a rook on a king, or a queen can make a discovered attack by moving aside and revealing an attack by a bishop on a rook. Here are some examples of discovered attacks:


In this position, white plays e5, making a discovered attack by the bishop on the black queen.


In this position, black plays Nd4+, making a discovered attack by the rook on the white king.


In this position, white plays Qa5, making a discovered attack by the bishop on the black rook.


How to spot and avoid discovered attacks




To spot a discovered attack, you need to look for moves that reveal an attack by another piece on an enemy piece or square. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if you can capture or defend them. To avoid a discovered attack, you need to prevent your opponent from making such moves or move the attacked piece or the piece behind it out of the way. Here are some tips on how to spot and avoid discovered attacks:


  • Pay attention to the position of your king and queen. They are the most valuable pieces and the most common targets of discovered attacks. Try to keep them safe and not too aligned with each other.



  • Watch out for bishops and rooks. They are the most powerful pieces that can make discovered attacks. They can move along diagonals and files and ranks. Try to control the squares they can reach and not leave your pieces undefended.



  • Be careful with pawns, knights, and queens. They are the most versatile pieces that can make discovered attacks. They can move in different ways and cover a lot of squares. Try to block their influence and not leave your pieces unprotected.



How to create and exploit discovered attacks




To create a discovered attack, you need to look for moves that reveal an attack by another piece on an enemy piece or square. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if your opponent can capture or defend them. To exploit a discovered attack, you need to take advantage of the situation and capture or threaten the attacked piece or the piece behind it. Here are some tips on how to create and exploit discovered attacks:


  • Use your king and queen. They are the most valuable pieces and the most powerful attackers. They can move in any direction and cover a lot of squares. Try to use them to create threats and pressure on your opponent.



  • Use your bishops and rooks. They are the most powerful pieces that can make discovered attacks. They can move along diagonals and files and ranks. Try to use them to surprise your opponent and create unexpected attacks.



  • Use your pawns, knights, and queens. They are the most versatile pieces that can make discovered attacks. They can move in different ways and cover a lot of squares. Try to use them to support your other pieces and create opportunities for discovered attacks.



Double Checks




Definition and examples




A double check is a move that checks the enemy king with two pieces at the same time. The piece that makes the move is usually of lower value than the piece it reveals, so the opponent cannot capture it without losing something more valuable or facing a checkmate threat. For example, a pawn can make a double check by moving forward and revealing a check by a bishop on a king, a knight can make a double check by moving away and revealing a check by a rook on a king, or a queen can make a double check by moving aside and revealing a check by a bishop on a king. Here are some examples of double checks:


In this position, white plays e5+, making a double check by the pawn and the bishop on the black king.


In this position, black plays Nf3+, making a double check by the knight and the rook on the white king.


In this position, white plays Qg4+, making a double check by the queen and the bishop on the black king.


How to spot and avoid double checks




To spot a double check, you need to look for moves that check the enemy king with two pieces at the same time. You also need to check the value of the pieces involved and see if you can capture or defend them. To avoid a double check, you need to prevent your opponent from making such moves or move your king out of the way. Here are some tips on how to spot and avoid double checks:


  • Pay attention to the position of your king. It is the most vulnerable piece and the only target of double checks. Try to keep it safe and not too exposed to attacks.



Watch out for bishops and rooks. They are the most powerful pieces that can make double checks. They can move along diago


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